Child Benefit is available to those responsible for a child under the age of 16, or under the age of 20 if they are in education or training. While this is a benefit usually claimed, families have been advised the coronavirus outbreak could provide them with an opportunity to claim additional benefits. As a result of coronavirus, many employees are being placed on furlough or not being paid in the same way as usual.
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This could mean their wages and profits dip below their usual income, and parents could be entitled to more benefits as a result.
For families with children, whose income falls below £60,000, Child Benefit stands at £21.05 for the eldest or only child.
This figure drops to £13.95 for any additional children in the family.
These figures are a new increase of 1.7 percent with the new tax year, as the government’s four-year benefit freeze has now concluded.
A two-child family could therefore receive £1,819 per year in tax-free benefits.
The government has proposed to spend an extra £5billion throughout 2020/21 to increase benefit rates.
If earnings and profits fall below £60,000 in the new 2020/21 tax year, Britons may become eligible for tax-free Child Benefit.
However, those with one income over £50,100 pay progressive tax, which means income over £60,000 is taxed at 100 percent.
Those who may have faced a dip in income as a result of the coronavirus, i.e. under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, could use Child Benefit as a helpful tool to assist their income.
However, parents have been urged to act quickly, as the benefit can only be backdated for three months.
Kay Ingram, Director of Public Policy at the national financial adviser group, LEBC, said: “The effect of the lockdown on people’s ability to earn a living can be dramatic.
“Whilst everyone understands the need to prioritise the number of lives we can save, claiming benefits and tax allowances early in the new tax year can help to ease the inevitable financial strain on family budgets.”
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Parents who think they are now eligible to claim Child Benefit can claim using the CH2 form, found at www.gov.uk.
And those who do not expect to be paying National Insurance contributions for the foreseeable future are also urged to apply.
This is because Child Benefit will provide them with National Insurance credits towards the State Pension.
These would be forfeited if an earning parent were to claim.
Child Benefit is usually paid every four weeks.
Only one person – a parent or guardian – is allowed to claim Child Benefit for a child they are responsible for.
Those who find themselves out of work as a result of coronavirus are also encouraged to apply for Universal Credit.
This is a payment to help with living costs which can prove a valuable lifeline.
The current system can allow people to receive up to a month’s advance upfront, without the need to attend a Job Centre.
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